Boostaroo Revolution Hands-on

It's kind of hard to warrant the purchase of strange, single-use devices like the Boostaroo Revolution. We like our toys to do all sorts of things. If it doesn't play WMA, have built-in GPS, and vibrate, we don't want it. That's why the Boostaroo Revolution is so strange and so compelling.

This stick-like amplifier/audio processor runs on two tiny AAAA batteries—that's not a typo, they actually exist—and can amplify and improve audio from any source as well as split your outputs so you can share your music with your friends.

Without Boosteroo, my own iPod sounded fine. I have some nice Ultimate Ears ear buds and they have kept me happy for almost two years now. However, once I plugged in the Boosteroo stick, I realized most of the music I was listening to had originally sounded like a truck backing over gravel.

The amplification alone was enough to clarify a lot of the music I had on the iPod. While higher-quality recordings sounded just about the same, low quality recordings began to pop and "sparkle" as they say in the audiophile magazines. This is not to say that they "sounded" better, but whereas before they were muddy and distorted, now you could pick out individual instruments and voices and hear all of the noise and artifacts left over from the compression process.

While I don't pretend to be kind of high-end audio ninja nor do I pretend to be able to tell the difference between a $100 2.1 system and a $10,000 woofer, I saw a noticeable improvement in the quality of the audio that passed through the Boosteroo. While it could have been just the amplification, the overall experience was quite different with and without the Boostaroo.

At $59.99, this is kind of a tough sell. It's about as long as a standard iPod and adds one more thing to carry. It's also specially designed for 60-Ohm headphones like the Sennheiser PX200 although standard headphones and earbuds work fine. If you would like to brighten the audio coming out of your iPod, this is strange white stick for you.

Product Page [Boostaroo]